Fashion in film

Fashion in film

The city’s Fashion Movie Week puts the world’s fashion designers on the big screen.

Published: April 20, 2011 (Issue # 1652)


German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is the subject of Rodolphe Marconi’s documentary film ‘Lagerfeld Confidential.’

“What you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise… In fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff,” says Meryl Streep’s uncompromising heroine in the film “The Devil Wears Prada.” This week, St. Petersburg fashionistas will have a chance to learn more about those behind clothes design, as the Fashion Movie Week held in the city from April 21 to 27 allows spectators to take a peek backstage of the catwalk and follow famous couturiers just as the films’ directors did.

Having comprised part of last year’s Avrora Fashion Week project, this year, the Fashion Movie Week has evolved into a separate event that also includes parties, roundtables and debates. The program consists mostly of documentaries showing the creative processes behind the work, and the designers’ everyday life.

The week opens with the film “Sonya Rykiel. The Day Before.” “The Day Before” is the name of a series of documentaries about the final few frantic hours before a fashion show shot by Loic Prigent, a director who is well known in fashion circles. Another film from the series “The Day Before. Fendi” will be shown later this week.

“Punk queen” Vivienne Westwood is the subject of a documentary by Gillian Greenwood that will be shown Friday. Shot in 1990, the film portrays the everyday life of the designer, as the camera follows her everywhere. Fashion critics and Westwood’s star contemporaries, including her husband — the English performer, impresario and self-publicist Malcolm McLaren — speak about Westwood’s undeniably impressive contribution to the world of art and fashion. Often described as unpredictable, Westwood manages to combine provocation with elegance and chic in her works, which most recently included a wedding dress for the fictional Carrie Bradshaw, heroine of the U.S. TV show “Sex and the City.”

“The Story of Fashion” tells the history of French fashion starting with Marie Antoinette through to the end of the 20th century. The film illustrates Coco Chanel’s much-quoted statement that: “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” The fact that the story is narrated by Karl Lagerfeld, a mysterious and fascinating figure of the fashion world, only set curiosity agog. The narrator of one story, Lagerfeld becomes the main character of another. The film “Lagerfeld Confidential” by Rodolphe Marconi was put together from 150 hours of footage of the designer’s life.

“Generosity and humor, derision and intransigence, a perturbing lucidity: these are the first words I think of when speaking of Karl Lagerfeld,” said Marconi. “I showed the film to Karl two weeks after the final editing; it was the same version that you will see: he has changed nothing. There was no censorship imposed upon me during the editing.”

Lagerfeld himself seemed quite satisfied with and even surprised by Marconi’s work.

“If you agree to have a movie made about you, you have to follow the rules of decent creativity and decent freedom, otherwise you cannot do it,” he said.

“I knew his work and I wanted a surprise, and it was a good one.”

Another iconic fashion designer featured in the week’s program is Yves Saint Laurent, who is the subject of David Tebloul’s film “Tout terriblement,” which brings together different interviews and videos of the gifted designer, romantic and philosopher.

“The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy,” is one of many much-quoted statements by Yves Saint Laurent that show his admiration for women.

The legendary Christian Dior and his path to success and universal recognition are at the center of Philippe Lafranchi’s film “The Man Behind The Myth.”

The creative process behind the Dutch duo Victor Rolf is depicted in the film “Because We’re Worth It!” by Femke Wolting.

Finally, Loic Prigent’s documentary “Signe Chanel” traces the history of the 2004-2005 Haute Couture collection by the House of Chanel.

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” This statement by Coco Chanel, a revolutionary in the world of fashion, seems as relevant today as her most famous legacy, the little black dress.

For a full program and film schedule visit:

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